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As the days grow longer and temperatures soar, some gravitate toward chilled white wine or refreshing rosé. However, many of the foods we eat during summer call for red wine, especially when we’re lighting the grill. Besides, sometimes we just want to drink a great glass of red wine, regardless of what’s on the menu.
Summer red wines satisfy a different series of desires than those we pour in cooler months. We’re seeking bold fruit flavors and soft tannins, not trying to warm ourselves up with richness. Whether it’s a cookout, pizza night, game night, or any warm weather get-together, Spain has you covered for delicious and affordable red wines that are perfect for summer drinking, many of which come in at $20 or under.
While Tempranillo is Spain’s star red grape, be on the lookout for varieties like Garnacha, Monastrell, Mencia and Bobal. Great Spanish red wines hail from Rioja and Ribera del Duero, of course, as well as regions less familiar to some U.S. drinkers, like Navarra, Utiel-Requena, Jumilla, Castilla-La Mancha and Bierzo.
There’s exceptional value to be had, and lesser-known regions and grapes can offer an even better quality-for-price ratio. If you do go for better-known styles, look for wines labeled Crianza or Cosecha, which cost less and have softer tannins than those that are aged longer.
Rectoral de Amandi 2020 Colleita Seleccionada Mencía (Ribeira Sacra); $23. Find at Vivino. This violet-colored wine has a nose of pomegranate and cocoa powder. It is bright—almost effervescent….SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Palacio De Canedo 2020 Ecológico Mencía (Bierzo); $15. Find at Palacio de Canedo. Aromas of black currant, vanilla bean and fennel bulb set the scene for a web of velvety tannins and flavors…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Volver 2019 Single Vineyard Tempranillo (La Mancha); $16. Find at Vivino. Dark ruby to the eye, this wine has aromas of black cherry, vanilla and violet. Flavors of cassis, cherry, salted caramel and rosemary…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Príncipe de Viana 2020 Garnacha (Navarra); $20. Find at Vivino. Aromas of black cherry and anisette emanate from this dark red-violet wine. It is well balanced, featuring plush tannins…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Bodegas Luzón 2018 Luzón Colección Crianza (Jumilla); $12. Find at Wine-Searcher. Dark ruby to the eye, this wine has aromas of black currant and dried Mediterranean herbs. It is soft at first sip, then plush…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Ego Bodegas 2020 El Goru (Jumilla); $15. Find at Wine-Searcher. This dark red-violet wine has a bouquet of black plum, vanilla and mountainside herbs. It offers smooth tannins and flavors of black cherry…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW